Thursday, July 24, 2014

Development and Competitiveness Minister Nikos Dendias and the head of the European Commission’s Task Force for Greece Horst Reichenbach met yesterday (23.07) and discussed the "Seventh Activity Report of the Task Force for Greece: Reforms Delivering Results," which includes praise and recommendations regarding the country’s next moves.

The additional funding of small and medium-sized enterprises using all available financing tools, including the European Investment Bank (EIB) was discussed, and a reference was made to the major problem of liquidity in the economy, as well as to the progress made in the absorption of community funds. "Greek public administration has continued significant rationalization of the workforce" the Commission’s Task Force said in its quarterly report on Greece published Wednesday in Brussels. The public sector wage bill as a percentage of gross domestic product is now below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average, the commission said.

  • IOBE : economy to grow by 0.7 % in 2014
The Greek economy is expected to grow by 0.7 % this year, following six years of recession, while the unemployment rate will drop to 26.7 % according to the quarterly report on the Greek economy of Institute for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE). IOBE says that "the transition of the Greek economy to a modest growth later this year will lead to a small decline in unemployment for the first time since 2008. 

Developments in the labor market come with a delay of 2-3 quarters from productive activity, therefore the unemployment rate fall will be felt from the third quarter."

See also: IOBE Report (in Greek)

A draft bill on Greek tourism, aiming to improve the quality and identity of the national tourism product and to boost investments, was voted in principle yesterday by the Greek Parliament.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the bill focuses on the simplification of the licensing procedures for the operation of businesses in Greece, setting also high standards for special sectors of tourism, such as agrotourism and medical tourism. It also includes provisions on matters related to special tourism infrastructural facilities such as ports, ski resorts or hotel complexes, while also enables the ministry to receive financial donations in the form of grants for the promotion of Greece.

Meanwhile, in related news, the number of tourists arriving in Greece was up 17% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period last year as well as tourism revenues jumped 10.6%, according a report by the Bank of Greece.

  • Beach Street Festival @ Mytilini Lesvos
Inspired by an abandoned hotel on the beach of Vatera, Lesvos, the Beach Street Festival is a unique international music and graffiti festival that combines summer holidays with urban arts and tradition, on August 1-3. The main location of the festival is the historic Castle of Mytilene and its surrounding area. The festival has 3 main stages that will host over 50 music artists and bands in 3 days. On the graffiti part, It gathers dozens of graffiti artists from all over Europe and worldwide to paint and create a route of painted walls along Mytilene city, from the ancient port to the museum of Theofilos Chatzimichael-Teriade.

  • Mythical Dances of Messenia Exhibition @ Kalamata
The exhibition Mythical Dances of Messenia is currently held at the Archaeological Museum of Messenia in the coastal city of Kalamata, southern Peloponnese, timed to coincide with the city's 20th International Dance Festival. It features archaeological evidence and witness accounts from antiquity about the region's music and dance, including ancient artifacts on loan from Messenia museums and from excavations of Ancient Messene and Nestor's Palace that are on display for the first time. The exhibition will run through September 30.
  • Tribute to Sophia Vari @ MOCA-Andros
An exhibition tribute to Sophia Vari and her work is running at the Museum of Contemporary Art, on Andros Island, until September 28.

An internationally renowned Greek artist with a multicultural art education, Vari remained independent throughout her career, never following any particular school of thought or practice, or joining any art movements, steering clear of established beliefs, and engaging in a bold and passionate quest for models she might be inspired from to create her very personal universe of forms. Apart from a large and varied sample of her work in sculpture that is to serve as the exhibit's main axis, the exhibition includes drawings, watercolors, oils, reliefs, and collages, as well micro-sculptures.

  • Jazz nights @ Historical Museum of Crete
A night full of music and sangria will be held at the Historical Museum of Crete, in the city of Heraklion on July 30.

The quartet Michalis Labrakis & Jazzoo will play jazz, blues and Brazilian music, while the museum’s bar will be serving sangria for those who want to enjoy a drink at the museum's garden or terrace, with a view to the sea.

During the concert, visitors will also have a night tour at the museum galleries, and the new temporary exhibition "El Greco, between Venice and Rome." The museum shop will also be open.